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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  March 24, 2020 7:30pm-8:00pm PDT

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the growing crack down in europe and italy, one of the deadliest days yet plus the olympics postponed. the reaction from team usa stars. and warning signs. why some coronavirus patients think they're getting better when they're not. >> announcer: this is nbc "nightly news" with lester holt good evening, everyone americans getting mixed messages tonight at a time we can ill afford it. covid cases are exploding, doubling every few days in some communities in this country. now with calls at the state level growing louder and more insistent for americans to isolate, president trump focused on boosting the economy is talking about ways to get back to business soon putting him on a potential collision course with public health experts who say this is no time to lower our guard. our team is in place and leading our coverage miguel almaguer with a reality check of where we are tonight >> reporter: with nearly half of the nation's population
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under orders to stay at home tonight a skyrocketing number of americans are testing positive for the coronavirus as states struggle to contain the deadly outbreak. in new york the number of confirmed cases statewide is doubling every three days tens of thousands are sick >> we're not slowing it, and it is accelerating on its own. we're now looking at a bullet train because the numbers are going up that quickly. >> reporter: with t infections spreading fast in part because of high density and commonly used surfaces the governor says he needs ventilators in makeshift hospitals like the javits convention center. jack's parents jenny and andy say the recent college grad fell ill ten days ago. now in critical condition the young athlete is fighting to make it to his 26th birthday next week >> he's in a coma and
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the nurse was nice enough to bring an ipad and show us what he looks like, but, you know, they're not talking. >> reporter: across the nation in los angeles county 80% of coronavirus cases are adults 18 to 65 years old. and today the city reported the first death in a patient under 18 but those most in danger of turning critically ill remain the elderly. word this afternoon 81-year-old legendary playwright terence mcnally died from complication of the virus. today the president said he wants to get americans back to work and businesses open by next month >> i would love to have the country opened up and just raring to go by easter >> reporter: with the virus spreading fast, many governors are threatening fines even jail times for ignoring orders to but there is no national mandate, and some leaders are choosing to stay open for business >> many governors today around the
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country have put in place shelter in place. i am not going there >> reporter: in addition to rhode island, states like florida and texas have no statewide regulations to keep residents home leading some to worry they could become the next epicenter for the virus. our sam brock is in houston. >> all of the biggest cities in texas including this one have issued stay at home orders but not in rural areas where some residents tell me not enough is being done to keep them safe. >> reporter: as the global crisis also continues to unfold, a symbol of world unity the olympic games is now officially been postponed in tokyo swimmer katie ledecky was a gold medal favorite >> we know that this is the right call, and we can have a little bit of time to take a step back. >> reporter: tonight a worldwide crisis hitting home as fear and uncertainty spread across our country in a white house briefing that just wrapped up there is growing concerns about new yorkers who have
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left that area and perhaps gone to other states we are told that 60% of the nation's coronavirus cases come from the new york area anyone that's left that area needs to self-isolate for 14 days it comes as the number of cases explodes in states like here in california lester >> yeah, a very telling warning. miguel, thank you. now to the battle within the battle and that's about how we protect those trying to help us at some hospitals tonight are still rationing personal equipment, the protective equipment and pleading for more from their states, the federal government, even corporations. here's tom costello. >> reporter: in ers and icus, tonight a pitched battle to keep patients alive but with doctors and nurses still running critically low on protective masks, face shields and gowns doctors use paper bags to reuse and store their masks as they go from patient to patient. >> we will be at the bed side no matter
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what you know, so you don't think about sort of your supplies or rationing. if you need to be at the bed side you're going to be at the bed side >> reporter: some health care workers are already sick like a san diego nurse megan homesick and awaiting test results afraid of infecting others >> we're feeling sick. we're trying to get testing and either we're not getting the testing or the testing is taking 5, 6, 7 days to get back. >> reporter: experts continue to warn hospitals could eventually need hundreds of thousands of additional ventilators. a frustrated new york governor lashed out at the white house. >> where are the ventilators? where are the gowns? where's the ppes, where are the masks? where are they >> reporter: but the vice president insists help is coming >> earlier today 2,000 ventilators were shipped directly to new york new york is truly the epicenter of the coronavirus now in our country. 2,000 more will be arriving tomorrow. >> reporter: governor cuomo says he's bought
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as much protective gear worldwide as he can but probably only enough for a few weeks. meanwhile companies big and small are stepping in. ford says it will produce 100,000 face shields. it's working with 3m to ramp up production of respirator masks. and with ge to expand production of a simplified ventilator. gm and tesla also promising to make ventilators, though experts caution it's a complicated promise that takes time. in up state new york a small creative studio is also using its 3d printers to turn out face shields for hospital staff >> we can hear the urgency in their voice and we feel that urgency. we're working as quickly as we can to get anything into their hands as possible >> reporter: meanwhile the pandemic is affecting lives beyond the icu. emily and billy shear are expecting a baby girl any day, but their hospital like many in pandemic hot zones is not allowing spouses into the delivery room. >> i'm nervous at the prospect of what happens when something goes wrong and sad about the idea he just won't get to bt e fda has
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approved a self-administered kit for people to use at a test site, swabbing their own nose and then submitting that sample for covid-19 lab work though it may take some time to rollout lester >> all right, tom costello, thank you. with the senate close to a deal on that huge relief package including checks for americans stocks soared today. peter alexander now with more on president trump's goal of reopening the u.s. for business despite guidance from many health officials >> reporter: president trump tonight explaining why he hopes to have the u.s. in his words opened up on easter just 19 days away >> easter's a very special day for me, and i see it's sort of in that time line i'm thinking about i think easter sunday and you'llchches all over our country. i think it would be a beautiful time >> reporter: but that proposed time line goes against what his top health advisor told nbc news just days ago about how long the pandemic will last
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>> i cannot see that all of a sudden next week or two weeks from now it's going to be over i don't think there's a chance of that >> reporter: the president arguing the white house's social distancing guidelines could be eased to allow americans back on the job >> we can socially distance ourselves and go to work, and you'll have the work a little bit harder >> reporter: and that the economy cannot wait >> you can destroy a country this way by closing it down. you're going to lose more people by putting a country into a massive recession or depression you're going to lose people you're going to have suicides by the thousands. >> reporter: tom democrats warning the president not to loosen restrictions too soon >> what the president is suggesting is really a formula for more uncertainty, more infections and more harm to the economy. >> reporter: whatever the president decides, americans are still subject to restrictions set by governors and mayors including shelter in place orders and school closures. all of it as the senate nears a deal for that $2 trillion
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emergency relief package. the bills expected to green light checks to most americans, about $1,200 per person, $3,400 for a family of four, and four months salary for workers who are furloughed as for that easter time line late tonight dr. fauci weighed in saying he's spoken with the president and that that date is, quote, very flexible, but they will need to evaluate its feasibility first. lester >> all right, peter alexander, thank you and for now the pain is only getting worse for american businesses and their workers. as those job losses grow here's jo ling kent. >> reporter: tonight across the country businesses large and small shedding jobs as the impacts of the coronavirus deepens. major airlines grappling with the possibility of cutting even more domestic flights as so many take off nearly empty. florida now mandating anyone flying from new york, new jersey or connecticut must self-quarantine for 14
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days upon arrival. the airlines worry other states may follow florida closing their doors to adhere to the governors new safer at home order going into effect tomorrow morning art gallery owner has run her shop for nearly 20 years. >> yes, we can last but how long i don't know >> reporter: throughout the country restaurant reservations have plummeted to near zero as millions stay in. >> it's been really frustrating honestly >> reporter: andrew forced to close the restaurant he owns with his wife, furloughing all but one employee >> there's frustration as to not having control over something that we've worked very hard to build and just sadness for our staff in not being able to provide them answers >> reporter: all this pain coast to coast and adding up. jobless claims are surging crashing some state unemployment websites with the unemployment rate expected to hit 9% by
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the ends of the year on thursday we'll find out how many people filed for unemployment claims, and that number is expected to be in the millions in the meantime businesses say even after this pandemic is over they expect it'll take at least six months to recover. lester >> boy, this virus hitting us in so many ways all right, jo ling kent, thank you. we'll be right back in 60 seconds with the all out campaign to recruit nurses and keep them safe and desperation and heart break as americans turn to unproven drugs es about my great grandfather, but family can only tell you so much... about your history. i found some incredible records about samuel silberman... passenger manifests, census information, even wwi draft registration cards. the records exist... they're there, they're facts. that made it so real for me, it wasn't just a story anymore. bring your family history to life like never before. get started for free at no no no no no, there's no space there! maybe over here? hot! hot!
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returning to normal life after two months on lockdown. but india, the second post inhabited nation is helping in the other direction. announcing a 21-day lockdown for its 1.3 billion citizens in italy the death toll spiked again today around 700, near record levels. but people are still breaking the rules the countries mayors fed up with the frustration, sacrifice, too an elderly priest who gave up his ventilator for a younger patient he didn't know died today. in the u.k., organizational problems limits on public transport have meant that the subways still running are packed one virus patient speaking out >> please none of you take any chances i mean it. >> reporter: i spoke to a mathematician specializing on how epidemics spread do you believe the numbers that are out
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there? >> i think it's very likely that most case numbers are substantially underreported. the u.s. and the u.k. probably have many, many times more infections out there than are showing up in the data >> reporter: richard engel, nbc news, london >> and we keep coming back to medical workers. there's so much demand for nurses right now that some hospitals are offering major perks to keep them and us safe. here's cynthia mcfadden >> reporter: across america tonight millions of nurses are fighting on the front lines of a new war catherine ramos is an er nurse at a hospital just outside new york city >> we need to get together >> reporter: she spoke to us from her hospital's huallway with an urgent p nurses who are still on the side lines. >> go help us out, we're all in this together
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>> reporter: michael fazio the ceo of prime staffing an agency that recruits nurses from all over the country. how many nurses are you looking for than you woulden on a normal day in march? >> at least 15, 20 times now. >> reporter: fazio tells us new york city hospitals are desperate for nurses especially the icu and emergency department last week his team recruited 100 nurses for new york city area hospitals. they need to recruit nearly 2,000 more. the money is great salaries twice the normal rate, which will put some nurses at $100 an hour or more but perhaps more important than the money, keeping these nurses safe. so fazio offers a range of protections >> my name is jessica gonzalez, and i'm an icu nurse. >> reporter: like being driven to and from work in black cars whose drivers are certified healthy. >> i used to take the subway or the bus and that eliminates all of those say like 50 to i don't know even a hundred people i could
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possibly come in contact with >> reporter: they also deliver sealed lunches to the icu offer child care, and that's nurse ramos' daughter receiving an order of groceries >> which is huge i don't want to be the one spreading anything to anybody >> reporter: giving nurses like her the strength to fight on >> you know this is war we're battling, these are the troops we need the men in there. >> reporter: cynthia mcfadden, nbc news, new york now to a heart breaking warning we spoke with the wife of a man who died thinking he was taking a drug to prevent coronavirus. here's gabe gutierrez. >> reporter: they thought a drug could protect them from coronavirus, but tonight an arizona man is dead afte dhe of my life and it feels like -- like my heart is broken and won't ever mend >> reporter: nbc's vaughn hilliard spoke with his wife who's now in an icu herself
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at this phoenix hospital and asked not to be identified turns out the couple ingested chloroquine phosphate which is actually used as a parasite treatment for fish she said she heard about it from president trump. >> we saw his press conference it was on a lot actually >> reporter: and then did you seek out chloroquine? >> i had in my house because i used to have koy fish >> reporter: but the president has touted nor time of chloroquine for malaria treatment though there's no clinical treatment proving it works another similar drug hydroxychloroquine has used to treat lupus for decades. but now surging demand is causing shortages for lupus patients like bonny leiberman >> i am considering half dosing my medication to make it last longe
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pharmacist robert paconelli in new york is nowd has been absolutely beyond what we can imagine its ever been for this drug >> reporter: it all highlights the confusion and desperation some americans feel over hopeful yet unproven medical treatments for covid-19 lester in. >> all right, gabe, thank you. up next a new warning about symptoms earn unlimited 5% back on everything you buy at walmart online, including things for your new puppy. no no no no. we need a mop! and bleach. when you want all that, you need the capital one walmart rewards card. earn unlimited 5% back at walmart online and unlimited rewards everywhere else. what's in your wallet? so you can trust us to be here for you...
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medical correspondent dr. john torres. john, walk me through what the symptoms look like for people who get this virus what can they expect? >> well, lester, unlike the flu which hits you all of a sudden coronavirus symptoms start more gradual. what people describe as a slow burn people say i had a slight cough, a headache and a low grade fever. and then they either recover or some people end up getting worse and what we're hearing is more people 24 hours later ending up in the emergency room because even though they thought they were better, they start getting chest pain or difficulty breathing the bottom line here is if you start feeling better you still need to keep your guard up because you might not be out of the woods yet >> what a lot of people would describe as a double whammy thank you. coming up tonight, the dream still strong for america's olympians. the lack of control over my business made me a little intense. but now i practice a different philosophy. quickbooks helps me get paid,
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finally, ste finally, stephanie gosk with a salute to our olympians. >> reporter: there's nothing that brings the world together like the olympics and that is of course why the world has to wait. >> it is bigger than the sport. it is actually about the well-being of society as a whole >> reporter: today u.s. athletes handled the difficult news with impressive grace. >> it allows everyone to kind of envision
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the path forward and, you know, now we know what we're working with >> reporter: and good humor. runner lolo jones' new take on the breakfast of champions when the u.s. team does get its chance it will be well worth the wait simone biles ready to turn four gold medals into many more katie ledecky dominating the womens soccer team out for revenge after a tough time in reo. and then there are the runners. christian coleman and noah lyles chasing usain bolt's records >> the dream is still here >> reporter: tonight they're all likely disappointed but by no means defeated stephanie gosk, nbc news, new york >> and that's "nightly news." i'm lester holt. please take care of yourself and each other. we made usaa insurance for members like kate.
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